1. Thanks for sitting down with us. First off, you are listed as a Christian Punk band. I think to most would seem like an oxymoron since punk rock has traditionally been about rebellion against the mainstream etc. What are your feelings about this?
A: I love this question; and I knew it was coming. This question is easy to answer; though it’s not easy to answer briefly. Essentially, to explain how these 2 things are not at odds with each other, I have to give some kind of a definition to Punk and Christian. I would bet there have been 1 million attempts to accurately define Punk, but it’s always been considered to be a non-conformist, or as you mentioned, rebellious ideology. One has to be careful at how this non-conformity is applied. In my view, it’s supposed to mean “not defining one-self by what ‘the crowd’ is doing. So, hypothetically, a punk rocker who likes the mohawk style, and thinks blue is a great hair color, should have the guts to have a blue mohawk even if all his schoolmates think it’s weird or unacceptable. But what about when too many people in his school also get blue mohawks? Is the punk then duty bound to stop doing what he likes because now ‘the crowd’ is doing it? To change one self solely for the purpose of not doing what ‘the crowd’ is doing, one would be continually changing one self, based on ‘the crowd’, rather than just ‘keeping it real’, and being comfortable being one self. I don’t sway with the wind every time it blows; not even in a “counter rhythm”.
Let’s talk about Christian. For one, it means a follower of Christ. As a word with both a root: Christ, and a suffix: ian, it means: Of, Like, or In Accordance with Christ. Since Christ is God, and perfect, no Christian can actually be a ‘perfect’ Christian. In practical life, it means one who has embraced that Jesus is God The Son, that He does have the power to bring us into reconciled relationship with God The Father, that one is forgiven and therefore made clean in the eyes of God by accepting His sacrifice, receiving His grace, and embracing His authority. In taking this view, the Christian should be ever striving to live up to the ideal of being like Jesus. This gets easier as one surrenders in Spirit to the 3rd part of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit, and Christianity gets increasingly impossible when one tries to achieve this by one self. The whole point of this is that we aren’t created to be on our own, separated from God. We are the children, He is The Father. We are the creation, He is The Creator. We are supposed to be with Him. As we grow in relationship with Him, we should discover more of who it is that God created us to be, and grow in our comfort and contentment with ourselves and our purpose.
Jesus set the bar higher than any other when it comes to being one self, regardless of social pressure. No one has ever known one self better than Jesus. He didn’t even waiver when the very humans whose souls He came to save had spat on Him, beat Him, and mocked Him as He gave His life for them (and us) on a wooden cross. He stayed true to who He is, perfectly aligned with the will and the heart of God The Father. He still loved those who hated Him, so much so that He pleaded for them, saying out loud, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. That’s amazing love. That’s a perfect God. Every punk rocker and non-punk rocker alike wishes he had the courage to stay true to what he is in the face of such opposition.
2. What are some of the Punk bands you grew up listening to?
I listened to all the old school faves: Misfits, Rancid, Cock Sparrer, The Business, D.I., Blitz, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Dead Kennedy’s, The Germs; any thing punk. Eventually I weeded out a bunch of bands whose songs I just didn’t get very into, and my longest lasting faves were Misfits, Rancid, and Dropkick Murphy’s. At some point in time, a while back, I just couldn’t keep listening to a lot of the messages, as I didn’t agree with them or find them to be life giving. Tim Armstrong is definitely my favorite punk writer. Lately, though, I’ve discovered Flatfoot 56, and they’re just awesome. It’s Punk, It’s Celtic, it’s Rock, It’s Christian. It’s passionate and positive at the same time, and just real good musicianship.
3. What are your favorite types of shows to play?
The ones with people at them. 🙂
4. What’s the scene like where you are?
Honestly, there’s a huge variety of Christian metal bands, but I’ve yet to find the local Christian punk scene. There’s lots of Christian punk, but little that I can find in Washington. Maybe it’s my job to make it. Shout out to all local Christian punk rockers: Let’s do some events together!
5. We don’t know a lot about the Christian punk movement. We’ve covered Christian hardcore in our day but not a lot of Christian punk. Are there other artists in the scene we need to check out?
I’d highly recommend checking out the artists on Thumper Punk Records. They work with a broad range of bold, energetic, positive artists.
6. I was you went on a mission trip recently, what was that like?
It was awesome. It was my 2nd trip to Haiti. Life is about relationships. It’s really amazing to spend time with a guy who loves The Lord, and all his neighbors, and is so thankful for the ‘house’ he lives in. I’m talking about a guy whose ‘house’ is a tent in tent city. Poor is inherently a relative term, but before any of us gripe about what we don’t have, we would all do well to think about things like running water, drinking water, hot water, walls, doors, windows, refrigerators, food, emergency services, public transportation, the protection of law, and so many things we take for granted. There are people in this world with healthier spirits that live off of 1% of what middle class Americans make. The quantity of blessings we have is less important than how we respond to God for what He has already blessed us with.
7. Your message on your facebook is “Love Everyone”. That’s a great message. How did that come about and why is that the most important message for you?
Loving people doesn’t replace loving God, the two go hand in hand. I’ll quote 3 favorite scriptures:
Matthew 22:37-40: “Love The Lord with all your heart, all your soul…and all your strength. And love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. In these two things, all the Law…is summed up. Do this and you will live.”
1 John 4:20: ” If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”
Matthew 25:40: “…I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
This idea can grow at first in the Christian as a sense of duty to ‘Obey’, but if we start to see every one as having the exact same worth as our own children, (since we are all equally God’s children) we can grow in understanding this is the only right way. God’s view is not “right because He says so”, but rather, “He says so because it is right”. We do all have the same value. Your worth is not determined by what you’ve done; it was given to you by God when He gave you life and a soul. You’re one of God’s children; you’re beautiful; you’re worth loving. He wants you to be with Him forever; and I want that for you to. I want to encourage others, not be a stumbling block.
8. Do you ever catch flak from Christians or groups for rocking so hard?
Not yet. However, I do find, as pastors and youth group leaders take seriously the responsibility they have to their respective groups, that it’s not easy to get into Christian churches. I respect that they have to tread with caution. Also, my stuff might be a little too loud for some peoples Sunday morning; it’s definitely more oriented towards teens to twenties.
9. Tells us a little bit about your current album?
“You’re Worth It” has one acoustic track, two tracks that are clean guitar and pretty laid back, and ten that are really high energy; a mix of rock and punk influence. A lot of it is pretty Rancid-ish, with simple guitars and dynamic bass lines. Vocal hooks and upbeat tempos. It’s a message centered around my hope to encourage others to have peace, get comfortable with Jesus, and break free from all the many areas in which selfishness causes strife and robs us of the abundant life God wants us to have.
10. What’s the rest of the year look like for you?
I’m working closely with Gorilla Music to pursue opportunities to play a variety of Christian and non-Christian events and venues. I just had tracks released on two different compilations, and I’m working on writing a lot of new material to have something ready by early 2014.